World’s First Fully 3D-Printed Handgun Is Here; Rep. Israel Demands Extension Of Ban On Technology [UPDATE]

By Binu Paul , Updated May 04, 2013 11:50 AM EDT
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UPDATE: II The gun has been successfully test fired. Read what happened here.

UPDATE: I  New York Congressman Steve Israel (D-Huntington), issued a call to extend the ban on plastic firearms. “Security checkpoints, background checks, and gun regulations will do little good if criminals can print plastic firearms at home and bring those firearms through metal detectors with no one the wiser. When I started talking about the issue of plastic firearms months ago, I was told the idea of a plastic gun is science-fiction. Now that this technology appears to be upon us, we need to act now to extend the ban on plastic firearms,” he says in a statement.

Defense Distributed, an Austin-based not-for-profit group, has developed what it claims to be the world's first entirely 3D-printed firearm.

The group, founded by 25-year-old University of Texas law student Cody Wilson, plans to release the 3D-printable CAD files for a gun he calls "the Liberator," Forbes reports. Wilson says the weapon can fire standard handgun rounds.

Although the prototype looks like a toy gun, the weapon can fire real bullets and even features an interchangeable barrel so that it can handle different caliber rounds. The one-man operated Defense Distributed plans to take the weapon through a full set of tests to determine its reliability and durability. Once the tests are done, the group will make the design available on its website for the public to download and print.

"All sixteen pieces of the Liberator prototype were printed in ABS plastic with a Dimension SST printer from 3D printing company Stratasys, with the exception of a single nail that's used as a firing pin. The gun is designed to fire standard handgun rounds, using interchangeable barrels for different calibers of ammunition," the report says.

Wilson is a firearms manufacturer with a Type 7 federal firearms license he obtained last month. To make the weapon legal, Wilson has added a six-ounce chunk of steel so that it can be detected by metal detectors, a requirement for weaponry in the U.S. under the 1988 Undetectable Firearms Act. However, upon its availability online, anyone can download and print the gun, legally or not, with no serial number, background check, or other regulatory hurdles, the report states.

"Everyone talks about the 3D printing revolution," Cody Wilson tells Forbes. "Well, what did you think would happen when everyone has the means of production? I'm interested to see what the potential for this tool really is."

His efforts at creating as many components of a gun as possible into printable blueprints and to host those controversial files online, has made him a controversial figure in the 3D printing community. New York congressman Steve Israel has already called for national legislation to ban 3D-printed guns. "Security checkpoints, background checks, and gun regulations will do little good if criminals can print plastic firearms at home and bring those firearms through metal detectors with no one the wiser," the congressman said in a statement issued in response to the Forbes story. "When I started talking about the issue of plastic firearms months ago, I was told the idea of a plastic gun is science-fiction. Now that this technology is proven, we need to act now to extend the ban [on] plastic firearms," he says.

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